confusing “ing” and “er” in the public broadcast space

Ireland has a highquality public broadcaster, RTE, funded in large part by the TV license fee of €160. An yes, RTE is high quality. Anyone who has looked at TV in other parts of the world know that to be the case. 

The TV license is being dropped in favour of a broadcast device charge, which will it seems be simply another household tax, being levied on the same population as the Local Property Tax. And it will be €180 from 2014. 

If RTE are to get the lions share of this, then they should be like the BBC – stop taking paid adverts. If they want to take ads, then we need to reconsider the situation. Does public broadcasting have to be the exclusive purview of the public broadcaster? Or should this €220m fund be made available to any and all who wish to bid for it, to create and deliver TV shows (be they news, current affairs or otherwise) that would be uneconomical? The tax is a form of intervention to correct a market failure – that socially good and useful programs may not be made by commercial stations if they are uneconomical. But the organizational form of how these programs are delivered is arguably a much lower order issue of concern. 

So : either we have a fully commercial system in which RTE would live within its advertising means OR a committment to public sector (public good) broadcasting, in which case intra sectoral justice suggests that it should be open to all. 


5 thoughts on “confusing “ing” and “er” in the public broadcast space

  1. Brian Mulligan

    Although I agree with the suggestion that it is public broadcasting that should be subsidised rather than a public broadcaster I see no problem with mixing subsidy with advertising. However, the licence fee seems to be the most inefficient way of collecting the revenue. Make it part of the tax system on the basis that public broadcasting informs and educates and confers benefits on society in general, even those who don’t watch. Then, I agree, distribute funds to any provider in any medium that succeeds in getting informative and educational content to the Irish public (even through Youtube).

  2. Owen Harney

    Not to mention the portion that goes to radio while independent broadcasters get 0% of the fee. Would whole heartedly agree with a BBC model regarding no advertising for RTE.


    Owen Harney

    Sales Manager


    tel: 01 5006623 mob: 087 2655104

    Macken House, Mayor Street Upper, North Wall, Dublin 1.

  3. Howya

    Given that the licence fee is only collected from 1.1m households, that would suggest huge inefficiencies on the collection method, so yes hand over collection to the Revenue.

    And no RTE is not a high quality public broadcaster (I have been to many other countries and RTE does not stack up well).

    1. Brian Mulligan

      Looks like we might have a bit of a beauty contest on RTE. I’ve traveled and lived abroad and reckon RTE is very good for the size of the audience. Now before they get too big-headed, the reason they are so good is that they have always had to compete for a large part of their audience with the BBC which is by far the best broadcaster I have ever seen. (ITV and Channel 4 are good too – for the same reason as RTE is).

      Actually, as someone who works in education and is not a great fan of government ownership they do tend to be a good counter example. I reckon that good TV informs and educates more that our education system.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s